I took a drive the other day just to escape the isolation for a bit. It was eery just how quiet things were just about everywhere I went. The store lights were all off. Signs saying temporarily closed were on doors of countless stores. There was an eery quiet in the air that was disturbing. So why is the quiet so hard? Why is this forced downtime so challening?
I’m a 100mph kind of guy. I like to always be moving and always have something to do. I jump at times before I fully think through things. I don’t sit still for long. I thrive on being around people. Large groups have never scared me. It’s the still and quiet times that totally freak me out! Can anything good come from these forced shut downs? Can anything positive happen in light of the closures all around us?
It seems that the media has one angle they insist on sharing about the current state of affairs in the world. All we hear are the businesses closed, the economic burden we’re all facing, the blame over who didn’t act fast enough, the spread of the virus, the death toll and the burden this places on our hospital system. But can something good come from something so devastating?
I definitely hope so or everything I’ve believed all my life is a lie. Many of us were raised on the idea that better days are coming. We say things like look for the light at the end of the tunnel. We know that bad things aren’t fun but if we’re honest, these bad things always end. So what might be happening in the wake of this pandemic?
Forced Family Fun
Forced Family Fun (F-F-F) was a term we used jokingly when we, as parents, were making our children do something even if they didn’t really want to do it. We’ve forced game nights and family movies. We’ve been the evil parents who shut off the video games and made our children interact with us face to face. But we’ve entered a whole new era of F-F-F!
Could this time of daily disruption be God’s way of forcing us as parents to be parents again? Could this be a time for us to help our children with their homework? Could it be a time for us to face to face have conversations with our kiddos? Could this be a time to sit and share how God has things in control even when it seems they are out of control? Could God be letting this happen so that families have no choice but to be together?
How are you using this Force Family Fun time?
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New Sense of Community
Part of our response to this emergency here at Living Word Galena has been to create safe community spaces to still happen. We’ve opened our doors to children who need care during these challenging times. We’ve met new people. We’ve built some relationships that I believe will last for some time to come!
Community has always been something that we’ve seen as a face to face moment. We think we have to be next to someone to experience community, but what if God is showing us that in our technology rich world that community can happen over a phone or on a computer screen? Perhaps God wants us to get back to the art of writing notes and sending cards and making calls. Maybe you could call instead of text someone.
There are so many people who are going for walks. Most parks are still open. You can talk to each other and still maintain a little distance from each other. We’ve had things like FaceTime, Zoom conferencing, Google Hangouts, Skype and so many more fun things that allow us to interact with one another and still maintain safe distance.
It’s time to rethink what community looks like and use every means possible to keep in contact through this time of separation!
The Church Has Left The Building
This one is probably the hardest one for me to swallow. Having been a pastor for 18 years this one hurts. It hurts that I can’t see those members of my church family that I’ve grown to love as extensions of my own family. But I’m a firm believer that God has a purpose for everything.
The book of Ecclesiastes (don’t worry about pronunciation) says there is a time for everything under heaven. It’s kind of interesting if you really think about it. This pandemic has a time. It has a predetermined time that it will run its course and then it will be over. There is a time for everything and purpose for everything under heaven.
But not only is everything bound by a time that is known to God, there’s another passage from Romans where Paul says all things work together for the good of those who love God and have been called according to His purpose. Think of it this way. If God knows the starting and ending points of this disruption in life then he knows what will come of it. And the promise here is that he is working something in us albeit unknown to us in this moment.
Perhaps He is pushing the church to see the world through a different set of lenses. Perhaps God is reminding the church that we can’t keep doing things the same way we have for centuries and expect to continue to reach and ever evolving population. We’ll talk more about how the church can grow through this in a future post but for now realize that God is at work. He’s busy working in us to bring a change in the world.
Friends it’s time to be the light of Christ in the world. Shine the truth and hope and joy that the world is in short supply of right now. When you see something good happening, share it around. Spread the hope you have because hope is even more contagious than this virus. Perhaps we need a new virus to combat COVID-19? Maybe we need HOPE-2020!
Let’s bring HOPE-2020 to all we come in contact with in these days.